Tips for women seeking a career in adtech

Janette Higginson
By Janette Higginson | 30 July 2020

Janette Higginson is head of demand, APAC at Index Exchange.

The tech industry is fueled by a culture of collaboration, complexity and change - the adtech world is no different. Those that have built a career in the digital marketing ecosystem, will know that the people are the ones who power this fast burning engine and they thrive on a challenge - this is why the industry is filled with so much passion.

However, just like a sports field, the adtech industry can be male-dominated in Australia and with the digital revolution well underway, there is plenty more change to come as women blaze a trail in this vibrant sector. For the women that are seeking to do just that, here is some advice:

Understand the entire supply chain
The digital advertising supply chain can be complex and in adtech, partners work with both sides of the coin (buy or sell side), so understanding the industry’s inner workings is key. There are several factors that have contributed to the complexity of the programmatic supply chain as the marketplace has matured, and transparent practices is one of them. With the pace of change in this environment, education is a constant requirement and it’s all about simplifying the beast that is digital advertising in a way that is digestible and easy for the client to understand. It’s for this reason, that potential clients have a thirst for a consultative relationship with potential partners in order to debunk myths and shed light on those players that operate in a non-transparent manner. The good news is that the industry has plenty of helpful resources to build knowledge and understand the ecosystem and it’s playing field, it just takes self-motivation.

Work for a company that shares your vision and values
Though this seems like a no brainer, company culture is a hard thing to define and it’s important to be involved with a company that shares the similar vision and values as one’s own. The companies that are focused on creating a solid foundation that ultimately allows the industry to thrive long term, are the ones that are equally as selective when it comes to employing and retaining talent. Companies with a strong and diverse range of leadership positions ultimately build and develop leaders without gender bias.

Build a trust network
There are different types of networks that aid career development, one in particular, is a close knit group of confidants that share different skills. Each person in a network should have a strength that helps to complete or challenge an existing skill set. These peer groups not only help to give perspective, but also help to develop the ability to balance different personality types and communication styles.

Lean into the physical side of tech
So what does this mean? It means that at the end of the day, tech is powered by cables and servers so focus on that - learn about the “tangible” infrastructure and understand how pipes actually work by getting into the detail. Getting elbow deep and touring a data centre, getting friendly with the engineers - leaning into these components will build understanding of the tech that powers the engine and will further expand technical knowledge and longevity in the ad world.

The adtech industry is in a state of change, and that change is focused on building better solutions for the future. Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities being created to attract more women into the industry. And remember, don’t be afraid to realise that things aren’t as complex as they seem.

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